Role on the Wall Lesson Plan

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Consider using this lesson to introduce students to the dramatic technique of 'role on the wall.' Students will engage in a group activity to create a 'role on the wall' for a dramatic character and then use the technique to prepare for an improv.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • analyze characters in a dramatic work
  • create a 'role on the wall' for a character in a play and an improv situation
  • utilize the information from a 'role on the wall' when acting


2 hours


  • Mirror
  • Chart paper
  • Tape
  • Markers
  • Script from a short play

Curriculum Standards


Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 9-10 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)


Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.


  • Show students a mirror and ask them what they see when they look at it. Discuss with students what cannot be seen in the mirror, but defines someone as a person, such as feelings, experiences, etc.
  • Tell students that they will be engaging in an activity called 'role on the wall' to help connect with characters in dramatic works on a deeper level and examine more than what would be reflected in a mirror.
  • Have the class read through a short play. As students read through the play, encourage them to focus on what they can learn about the characters through their thoughts, words, actions, etc.
  • Divide the class into small groups, and provide each group with chart paper and markers.
  • Assign each group a character from the play.
  • Have each group complete a 'role on the wall' for their character.
    • Groups should tape their chart paper to the wall.
    • On the chart paper, students should draw an outline of a human body.
    • On the inside of the body, students should list information about the character's physical characteristics, thoughts, and feelings that were revealed in the play.
    • Around the outside of the body, students should list facts about the character, information about how others view them, the important lines the character says, and actions or experiences the character engages in during the play.
  • When groups are finished, have them share their 'role on the wall' for their characters.
  • Discuss the following questions with students:
    • What did you learn about your character through this activity?
    • How could you use the information from the 'role on the wall' if you were portraying this character on stage?

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